Leadership Gallery

The Reverend Dr. Nathan Wright Jr., 1923-2005

Wright Close-Up

The Reverend Dr. Nathan Wright, Jr., c. 2000.

Dr. Nathan Wright was both an Episcopal minister and a scholar. A prominent advocate of black power, Wright shared the ideology of Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was both a participant and chronicler of the first Freedom Ride. At the National Conference on Black Power in Newark in 1967, Wright served as chairman of this pivotal meeting where the tactics of the civil rights movement changed from the demand for individual rights toward demands for group rights.

After his ordination in 1950, Nathan Wright fulfilled his parish ministry in a variety of capacities. He held diocesan and national positions which included six years' service as an Associate in the Office of Stewardship. From 1964 to 1969, Wright served as executive director of the Department of Urban Work in the Diocese of Newark. A lifelong Republican and an avid supporter of Presidents Nixon and Reagan, he was highly educated, earning six degrees, among them a doctorate of education from Harvard and a master's degree from Episcopal Theological School.

The Rev. Nathan Wright Jr. discusses the effect of unplanned urban growth and dislocation on urban black populations, 1968.

The Rev. Nathan Wright Jr. addresses the root cause of the "violence" in race riots, 1968.

Dr. Wright was the author of 18 books, including Black Power and Urban Unrest, 1967; Ready to Riot, 1968; Let’s Work Together, 1968; and Let’s Face Racism, 1970. For over fifty years, he expounded on stewardship and social justice issues in his sermons, lectures, and writing.

Dr. Wright’s papers are located at the Schomburg Library in New York. [Sources]